If you’re looking for some heavy hitting this week, there’s no need to wait until prep football rolls back around on Thursday and Friday. Get your thrills watching kills at one or two of the big-time volleyball matches on the menu.
Much of the buzz in the preseason was about whether top-rated Bishop Blanchet could repeat as Class 3A state champion and the Braves should get a good test Tuesday against Bainbridge, ranked No. 8 in The Times’ opening poll.
Blanchet fell out of the top-100 in the national rankings put together by PrepVolleyball.com. The team was No. 94, but fell out of favor after early losses to Central Kitsap and Rogers of Puyallup (never mind that both are 4A teams).
But that helped open the door for Shorecrest of Shorline, which jumped into the Centurty Club this week at No. 99. The Scots, ranked No. 2 in The Times’ preseason poll behind Blanchet, play a key WesCo South match Thursday against Kamiak, No. 6 in 4A.
Mead of Spokane and Kentwood of Covington, rated 1-2 in the state in 4A, continue their rise in the national rankings. Mead is 17th this week and Kentwood moved up to 25th. Kentwood plays a key South Puget Sound League 4A match Wednesday against Kentlake, which knocked off No. 9 Tahoma of Maple Valley last week. Kentwood and Kentlake are both 5-0 in league play.
Can Kentlake hand the Conquerors their first regular-season loss since 2005? Kentwood has so many weapons this season, it might be the most well-rounded team in the area. But Kentlake can’t be taken lightly.
Curtis of University Place pulled off an even bigger upset last week, knocking off Rogers of Puyallup, 3-2, after dropping the first two games of the match. That keeps the Vikings in a first-place tie in the SPSL South with Puyallup at 5-0. That tie will be broken tonight as Curtis and Puyallup square off.
Rogers, rated No. 4 in the opening poll, has now lost to Curtis and Kentwood (in the Kent Classic). That ought to make the Rams good and mad. Don’t count them out yet.
Auburn Riverside is off to a 5-0 start in SPSL 3A play. The Ravens, ranked No. 7, have won four of their matches by 3-0 counts. The other came by a 3-2 count against Sumner, which is 4-1 in league play. The Spartans have a key match tomorrow against Enumclaw, which is also 4-1 with the lone loss coming against Auburn Riverside. Riverside plays rival Auburn Mountainview (3-2) in what should be an entertaining match tomorrow.
KingCo 4A and 3A teams are just warming up, entering the second round of league play this week. Too early to tell much their, except it’s been an unexpected early struggle Issaquah (1-4. 0-1), ranked No. 9 coming into the season.
I’m looking forward to the Bothell-Woodinville showdown on Oct. 11, although a lot can happen before then.
What else has caught your eye this week? Let’s hear from the volleyball faithful out there!
— Sandy Ringer